Saturday, March 24, 2018

The One With Sky Above Clouds

This month, I'm participating in the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post or you can head on over there to check out other people's stories and follow along with the fun. For more information on what a Slice of Life is about, you can go here

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Today I met friends downtown for brunch and the Art Institute. I've actually been to the Art Institute a lot in the last few years. As an educator, it's nice to be able to get in free, it's in an easy-to-get-to location, it's a museum that people of all ages can enjoy. 

We explored the modern wing this morning and saw lots of pieces I had never seen before. For some reason, it's just an area I haven't gone through but I really enjoyed it. We found the fish room which was really fun. 

I didn't have much time so after the modern wing, I took my friends up to see Georgia O'Keeffe's Sky Above Clouds IV before I had to leave. It's my favorite piece for a few reasons. To start, the museum has it in a unique location, it's on the wall at the top of a set of beautiful stairs. When you come out of a room and head towards the stairs, there it is. It takes my breath away every time because it's so big and pure and joyful. The picture here doesn't do it justice at all but you can get an idea of what it looks like. 
I love how simple it is. It's so basic but amazing at the same time. I love seeing the horizon and get a sense of hope and possibility. And what I love the most is how it reminds me that the sun is always shining down on us even when there are clouds in the way. 

Earlier this month, I went to Boston during one of the worst nor'easter storms. It was cloudy, rainy, windy, dreary but once the plane took off and cut through the clouds, I saw that the sun was there. Shining away brilliantly...just hidden from the clouds. This is important to remember. Even when it's a cloudy, rainy day, the sun is still shining down on us. 

Here are pictures I took from the plane to show you what I mean and to show what Georgia was trying to capture....and I think she did a great job!

When I sat down to write this blog post, I went to the Art Institute website to see learn more about this piece. They share this quote from Georgia O'Keeffe about this painting:

"I painted a painting eight feet high and twenty-four feet wide—it kept me working every minute from six a.m. till eight or nine at night as I had to be finished before it was cold—I worked in the garage and it had no heat—Such a size is of course ridiculous but I had it in my head as something I wanted to do for a couple of years so I finally got at it and had a fine time—and there it is—Not my best and not my worst."

I love that she got this idea in her head and then just had to get it out. I also love that she worked on it all day. I especially love that even she realizes it was a ridiculously huge canvas but that she did it anyway. Sometimes creativity just takes over. 

But did you notice this line: "Not my best and not my worst." Maybe it's not her favorite but it's definitely mine. And maybe it's not her best in her opinion but it's hanging on the wall in an important space at the Art Institute in Chicago. I like this reminder as a writer. Not all the words I write are going to be my best or my worst, they'll probably mostly be somewhere in between. But even if they are in between, they might be published for people to read someday just like Georgia O'Keeffe's painting hangs at the Art Institute for so many to see.

The other day I wrote about self doubt as I explore spoken word and try performing some of my own poetry but Georgia O'Keeffe's words help me see that I can't worry so much. I just have to write. I have to get it out and have a fine time doing it and remember that it might not be my best but it probably won't be my worst and that's good enough. 

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